Can't Stick to Your Diet?

Date: 6/6/2014

NLP has a number of techniques that can help you stay on your diet.   This is a brief description of some of the techniques that I use....

1) The Swish pattern is one of the oldest---and most powerful---NLP visualization techniques.  People develop thought sequences that lead them to a particular behavior---such as seeing food and then eating it!   Or, hearing about food and then eating....or smelling food and then eating.   This eating response becomes an automatic, reflexive behavior that can be very overwhelming.

What the Swish pattern does is to interrupt the old thought sequence and  install a different thought sequence. Then when one of the "eating triggers" described above presents itself, the person automatically follows the new response instead of eating.  

2) Strategies.   This is similar to the swish pattern, but simpler.   Strategies are sequences of thoughts that lead to a specific behavior.  We have strategies for everything we do--from how we wake ourselves up in the morning to how we know when it is time to go to sleep to how we shop as well as when it is time to eat and....what we choose to eat...and when we can say "no" to ourselves, we have eaten enough, and so on.   

A particularly powerful strategy is called a "synesthesia".   This is when two steps don't follow each other in sequence but occur simultaneously.   For example, in sports, a basketball player sees the basket  and instantaneously throws the ball at it.   In music, a pianist sees the notes on the music sheets in front of him and moves his fingers accordingly.

Eating strategies are usually synesthesias, too.   As described above, a person sees food and feels the desire to eat..  

Just like you fight fire with fire, you fight a synesthesia strategy with another synesthesia strategy.  We choose a different behavior or thought to pair up with the eating trigger to be part of the new synesthesia strategy. 

3) Values Elicitation.   A value is what is important to a person.  It takes me approximately an hour to do a Values Elicitation  to find out what is important to you in life. Then we explore how not staying on your diet is not consistent with your life values.  The person may have had some idea of this before, but it was more of an unconscious awareness.  Through the Values Elicitation, it becomes conscious and the person can use it to battle his desire to eat.

4) Psyching Yourself.   This is a tool which, in my opinion, is very underestimated. There are three parts to psyching yourself:  First, a general affirmation which is a clear statement of intention (in this case, not to eat).  To maximize results, I help the person choose a wording which will be powerful for him.  The person repeats the affirmation during the day to keep an awareness of staying on the diet. The second step is create a phrase to psych himself at the time that the eating trigger presents itself.   I have the person go back in his past and think of times that he successfully psyched himself to do something challenging.   Based on what worked previously, we create a phrase using the same words and voice tones to use now.   The third step is after he is successful, he "congratulates" himself.   This helps to create a momentum  so that in the future it will be easier to resist the eating triggers. 

5) Visual Squash. This technique resolves inner conflicts. With dieters there is a usually conflict that goes something like "I want to lose weight and I also want to eat".   There are "good reasons" on both sides of the conflict.  We go into the deeper meanings of both sides of the conflict and discover that on a higher level both sides really want the same goal.   On a lower level the goal became split into two opposing desires.  This is why the person is stuck and finds it hard to stick to the diet.   This technique helps the person blend the two sides in a way which is in keeping with the true goal of the person.   The positive aspects of the "I want to eat" side can be extracted and blended with the "I want to lose weight" side.   The person can then diet without the strong pull to eat. 

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